How do I care for my Easter Cactus?

CactusBoss(Zone 5a)July 21, 2013

Regarding( humidity, soil, water, light etc) and how does it compare to a Thanksgiving Cactus?

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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

Doing a search of forum posts would answer the question and help you greatly. A lot of us, including me, would highly recommend a bark-based soil mix--primarily bark with some pumice or perlite, and perhaps a handful of regular potting soil mixed in. They're a tropical, so they don't want dry soil. Same soil mix and basic treatment would be recommended for Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti.

The last thread I can recall discussing these plants is this one, and in it greenman28 gives a good explanation of his soil mix.

This post was edited by teatree on Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 22:32

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:29PM
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Pots_Alot

In comparison EC's are very close to the same as any other tropical jungle type cacti, other than flowering shape size and coloring and foliage characteristics. Soil as suggested and growing conditions are the same.
The search will lend time to 1000's of informative info. Some search results are not as informative regarding the subject of EC specifically.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:42PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

My searches have varying information. Some say they need high humidity while others say they don't.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:04PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

I just read that they're VERY fussy about watering. Makes me feel like I won't be able to keep it alive :(.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:59PM
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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

My two ECs have not been incredibly fussy about watering. I personally don't know quite why others struggle with them. In the right soil mix I would hope you'd have success. I wouldn't give up right away.

I have an aunt here in the area of Clackamas, Ore., where it's not at all humid, who has a 10-year-old Hatiora rosea indoors and manages to get it to bloom each year. From my personal experience, a little humidity can be beneficial, but an EC can still be healthy as can be and can even bloom without it if the hours of daylight are correct.

I swear that anyone can keep an EC alive because they can recover from absolute neglect remarkably quickly. Case in point, my grandmother was horribly mistreating her orange-blooming Hatiora gaertneri, to the extent that it looked like this last year:

She doesn't water things because she's stingy, and I would guess she hadn't truly watered it in several months, no joke. But anyway, she'd finally put the poor thing outside on the back porch to die, and I adopted it. I eventually took it out of that peat-y soil and repotted it in a bark mix, but my initial goal was just to get it to live via water and the shade from a large maple tree.

In only one week it had recovered to look like this. Almost every leaf had plumped back up.

I rescued it in August, and the next April, it bloomed right on time.

I usually water my Hatiora rosea when the soil is nearly completely dry. My aunt is not careful to watch her plants and water before the soil has entirely dried out, and because her H. rosea has always done extremely well, I've guessed it can handle a little neglect. And my grandmother's H. gaertneri I water when it's slightly more damp, although obviously I know that plant can survive a near-death experience.

This post was edited by teatree on Mon, Jul 22, 13 at 1:19

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 12:59AM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

You have an H. rosea? I heard those were the most fussy ones of all the EC! I guess it may depend on the individual plant haha.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:14AM
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Pots_Alot

Conflicting forum search results again ? Okay then they are as tricky as you read else where... Good luck

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:17AM
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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

H. rosea is known as the Fussy Queen, yeah, from what little I've read. :) All I can say is that my aunt's is not consistently well-watered and it thrives. I admit, around blooming time I have more luck with my H. rosea in the greenhouse, where it's a little humid. I have gotten cuttings to bloom in the house, but with not nearly as many blooms as I can get in the greenhouse. But a greenhouse basically helps a little with all.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 1:30AM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

I'm assuming Hatiora gaertneri is the least fussy cause it doesn't have any of the rosea genes in it(Hatiora x graeseri is a cross between the two). What does mine look like?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 3:49AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Teetree is right. In a bark-based mix, these plants (jungle cacti, holiday cacti) become much easier to grow. Once the roots are healthy, they tolerate a much wider variety of conditions.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 12:54PM
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Pots_Alot

Looks more to be a Hatiora gaertneri in the pic. Not sure how it will do for you in the year round comfort control room & lighting might be a concern. I tend to move mine about during the seasonal changes
Thinks H. rosea isn't all fussy, it's just different. It kind of likes to grow and rest at the same time.
To describe the inside of a established one will look like the other pic tee posted as the ends will suddenly show signs of new growth.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 3:12PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

I just put it there to take a picture, it's in a spot that gets very bright indirect light now. I just hope it adapts to dry air. Would a pebble tray be needed? And to get it to bloom can I just expose it to complete darkness(in a paper bag for two weeks) because I won't have the time(because of school) to keep track of the 14 hours of darkness thing?

This post was edited by CactusBoss on Mon, Jul 22, 13 at 17:26

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 3:35PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

No need to do any of that 'darkness' stuff.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 6:54PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

weird, that's what I heard you have to do.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 7:14PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

From who? And how would that work in the 'wild'?
Would make reproduction somewhat difficult, eh? What with the distinct lack of dark rooms to be found in Nature.

Just think of all the plants that bloom without special treatment. There's your answer.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 1:13AM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

greenman28, I just heard(from many sources) that they need a cool period of 50-55 degrees for two weeks to bloom or 14 hours of darkness a day for two weeks to bloom. I guess it's not true then.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 1:18AM
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Laura Robichaud

They probably bloom in spite of that treatment rather than from that treatment. I imagine they are trying to simulate the seasonal changes that stimulate flowering.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:21AM
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monet_g

I have read that Thanksgiving Cactus need a cool period, but I quit doing that years ago and still get two flushes of blooms. However, my house is quite cool during the winter.

I've still yet to get my EC to bloom and since I have a cool loft, I plan on giving it a cool period. Will probably do the same with my CC.

Here's a post with a link to an article on Easter Cactus care.

Here is a link that might be useful: click here

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 10:01AM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

Btw how fast do they grow?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 1:05PM
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ctreeteac(Zone 8b; rain-spewing Oregon)

Relatively quickly, I'd say. Same speed as the other holiday cacti.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 1:38PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

If you like the looks of this plant, it was in an east window while inside for winter. Then I put it back in the same place it was last summer, currently hanging from a tree branch where it gets some direct sun in the late afternoon, and little dapples of light until then. Has bloomed twice more since the thread from link died down in Feb, and I noticed 2 more buds forming when I took this pic a few minutes ago, but could only get one at a time in a pic. (Potted with Callisia.) Well-drained, getting rained on every day.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 2:11PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

That's a nice plant! it's better to hear people's growing experiences rather than a care sheet online. Looking forward to hearing more!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Thanks! I look forward to hearing more too, neighbor gave me that last summer and it's been a lot of fun, has bloomed a lot, more blooming than growing. If it wasn't for the great advice I got here, it would probably be dead by now. I thought the 'cactus' part of the name meant it wanted to be really dry most of the time, and luckily was told right away, that's exactly wrong, and to give it airy, chunky soil without sand in it.

I keep snapping off pieces to share with other people, and have stuck about half a dozen pieces in the soil of the same pot. None are big/tall enough to peer over the rim yet though some have some tiny new leaves down in there. I'd still call it slow-growing but it's hard to say since I've shrunk it on purpose so often.

Always open to tips for improvement!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 2:57PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

Seems as if these plants are less prone to dropping segments than sources say. I also put mine in a spot that gets direct sun for like 1 hour max and then it gets bright indirect light the rest of the day.

This post was edited by CactusBoss on Tue, Jul 23, 13 at 16:20

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 3:24PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

The two amigos(sorry for the crap pic). And yes that's a huge E. grusonii next to them. My Thanksgiving cactus doesn't seem to mind the extra sunlight so I hope the Easter cactus is the same!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:52PM
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CactusBoss(Zone 5a)

Hey teatree, what soil mix did your grandma and aunt grow their Easter Cacti in? Mine already lost a few segments:(.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 5:28PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I made a home for mine in orchid bark and some soil and perlite and it is growing great under an oak tree in near 100F weather (102 today).I try to water it twice a week. sometimes only once a week. leaves were dehydrated when I got it but are nice and shiny now. I heard that after blooming one should not water it for a week OR 2 and not fertilize it for a month. What is up with that?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 6:47PM
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